iTunes LP, the rich media salesperson

Doors.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Polifemus

A couple of days ago, Apple introduced iTunes9 and demonstrated a new iTunes feature called iTunes LP.

That’s “LP” as in long-playing album.

Those of us who were of music-buying age in the 1960s (not me, old man), 1970s and early 1980s remember some of the albums we bought.

I remember a Santana album back in the late 70s that came with a really cool poster. Others came with liner notes that included lyrics, tour photos and all sorts of special items that only a real fan could appreciate.

When CDs rolled into town, most of that ground to a halt. You had to survive on just the music, which was getting companded and less rich-sounding by the minute. No, this isn’t an audiophile rant. Maybe later.

A few groups included little booklets in their CD packages, and over time, some shipped CDs with bigger packaging and extra treats, but these were rare.

Digital Shifting

Then, MP3s arrived and the last vestiges of liner notes were gone.

This week, they returned.

In the video above, you can see Apple exec Phil Robbin showing off the iTunes LP feature. Watch the 3 minute clip before moving on. You need to see it before our discussion continues.

So what?

Whether you sell software, food, $700 blenders, recreational vehicles, luxurious experiences in a bed and breakfast, or detail cars – you’d better get what “LP-ing” means to your marketing and sales process.

How can your products and services benefit from being presented in that way?

Look at what you sell through the lens of iTunes LP. You should have already been doing so – we’ve talked about using audio and video to market/deliver your services but now, you have a great new example.

iTunes LP just scratches the surface for now, just like iPhone/iTouch apps. You have so many opportunities to leverage these capabilities, but you have to take advantage of them even if they aren’t perfect.

We’ve come a long way since 1994. Internet/technology-wise, it’s just past 8am. There’s still plenty of opportunity.

Get to work.

Postscript for the argumentative

Some might say that Apple copied what the Microsoft Zune HD already does. So what. Both copy what was done 20 years ago in a vinyl record. Does that make it less useful? Less impactful? No. For that matter, the iPod and Zune are modern day versions of the Sony Walkman, which copies…. (and so on).

Business is Personal is now available on iTunes

Some of you may have noticed lately that there have been a few extra little trinkets at the bottom of posts over the last week or so.

I’ve started podcasting most of the posts here at Business is Personal, and they are now available on iTunes. As time permits, I’ll be podcasting older posts as well.

One of your options is to subscribe to Business is Personal on that hip new iPhone you got recently. You can use the same link in your browser if you want to get the podcast via iTunes.

A podcast only feed URL is also available in the menu bar up above.

David Apple wastes no time, passes Goliath Wal-Mart in music sales

Just a few days ago, I was talking about iTunes passing Amazon and Best Buy in 2007 total music sales.

That’s all kinds – CD and downloaded music.

Didn’t take long for that to become old news. On Tuesday, a leaked Apple memo shows that January 2008 music industry numbers from NPD indicates that Apple has now passed Wal-Mart in total music sales (and remember, this includes Walmart.com’s music store).

Goliath has an Achilles heel. You simply have to look a little harder to find it.

Woolworth had one. Sears had one. K-Mart had one. Now, it’s become clear that Wal-Mart has one as well.

How closely have you looked for cracks in the armor of your market’s Goliath?

If YOU are the Goliath in your market – what would you attack, if you were David?

Amazon responds to print on demand (POD) changes

Day 106 - I am a librarian
photo credit: cindiann

About 5pm Eastern late night, I received a note via my contact page from Amazon’s Drew Herdener. I appreciate that Drew (ie: his assistant) went to the trouble to chase this post down, much less to respond (Business is) Personal-ly:) Of course, an identical note was sent to others, including Writer’s Weekly, who broke this story last week.

Given your interest in Amazon Print On Demand, I want to make sure that you had an opportunity to read a letter we published today about what we’re changing and why. Here’s a link to the letter:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-printondemand.

Hope this helps.

Thanks,

Drew

Drew Herdener
Senior Public Relations Manager
Amazon.com
Office: 206-266-1913
Cell: 206-459-6761

It appears to speak for itself. It is a little late now, but let’s go there anyway. Hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Wouldn’t it have been a better idea to contact all your publishers and authors BEFORE this flap? That way, you could explain what is about to happen, rather than creating a firestorm and having to respond in defense of actions that I suspect were not made on a whim. Get them in on the plan, get some feedback, find a win-win, and so on.

No matter what the response is now, backpedaling or not, you’ve managed to tick off authors, publishers and more, much less generate a pile of bad public relations (hey, but we are talking about you, so I guess that’s good).

I can appreciate the efficiency argument and the desire to simplify what can be simplified, however I think it’s important to note two things:

  • Independent authors and POD publishers are your customers too.
  • The long tail that these authors and publishers provide for Amazon is one of the key differentiating factors between you and the local bookstore that can’t afford to carry 3 million titles.

Every major bookstore has access to the Ingram catalog. What they can’t do nearly as well as Amazon does, is make the long tail (provided by independent authors publishing via POD houses) as available as you do. But…when the long tail gets stepped on and leaves Amazon, how will you differentiate?

I’m not sure that smart (and appreciated) emails noting that other people like myself who bought book A tended to buy book B is going to be enough. Any programmer can make that happen for a bookstore with a database.

Maybe iTunes should start selling books. They’ve already beaten Amazon at the music game.